How Travel & Fitness Changed My Life.
I started CrossFit just over two years ago now...at first, I was a total scrub. A noob. A semi-decent athlete (I still am, really) and knew I had a long way to go. I wasn't born with the natural gift of athletics and I've always had to overcome my wiry frame to compete with my peers. Even then, I've never been renowned for my physical prowess.
I first heard about CrossFit in college - and wanted to try it. But, there was no way I could afford it. I remember seeing an astonishing rate of $109 a month (astronomical prices in relation to a college kids budget) for a CrossFit membership, to which I said, 'Yeah, screw that. Planet Fitness is only $10 a month, and my gym at school is FREE.'
Of course, that was when I was 21 and knew everything about the world...but the idea of starting CrossFit stuck with me for a longtime. I had heard about the 'Intensity' and 'Cult' aspect of it all and I was intrigued. Having an addictive personality myself, I knew I'd always come back around to it.
Flash forward to a few years after school, I was working at EuroAdventures in Italy leading groups of study abroad students around. I met some of my best friends in the world while I was there (Tony especially) and his love affair with fitness brought out the competitor in me. I don't like being beat - and he was always at the gym, running, lifting, crushing it - even after nights where we were out drinking in Florence till 5 or 6 am. Somehow, the gym was his outlet for the grind and stress of our jobs...being away form home, taking hundreds of students to incredible places week in and week out with barely any sleep or time to ourselves...it was actually rough sometimes and the gym was a huge stress reliever.
It was a tough job sometimes (AMAZING) but super tough...anyway...for me to have a best friend who was that motivated to use his outlet as a place of solace was enlightening...pretty soon, I was attempting to hit the gym as much as Tony did. I knew I'd probably never be the athlete he was (or get close) but his motivation inspired me to stay fit. Even on our 10 day trips to places like Greece or elsewhere where there was no gym to be had, I knew I had to stay active to be on par with the duties of our job. Making sure we got students home safely, etc...
What is came down to was the face we often had to create our own gyms during our time in Europe. We didn't know it then, but we were literally making our own travel WOD's.
I specifically remember one night, another tour guide and I were on a night ferry going from Athens, Greece to another island and we were just ITCHING to workout. I mean seriously...we couldn't sleep. My muscles were twitching, I was sweating, my leg was shaking profusely. My body was telling me to move...
We ended up saying, 'Fuck It' and going to the top of the ferry to do pull-ups and run laps around the top deck of the ferry. We probably did over 300 push-ups and 200 pull-ups while running about 20 or 30 laps on the top deck. I'm not sure how long we were up there, but I was having a blast....sailing across the Aegean Sea under a starlit sky, working out while on the way to a Greek Island.....it's something I'll never ever forget. I have no idea how many miles we ran - but all I knew after that was I was officially addicted to fitness.
And even today, on days when I haven't gotten to the gym yet, my muscles crave exercise. I can feel it. They crave the proper nutrition and to be simply be used.
Fast forward another year after what I'll call, 'The Athens Incident,' I was living and working in Somerville, MA back in my great home state of Massachusetts. You know...the only ALL BLUE state in the entire union...and I was a member of a regular gym.
The ones where everyone listens to their own music and dictates their own exercise regimens. It was nice, I guess. I finally felt like an adult, doing the regular routine thing adults do - but after a few months, something didn't feel right....I couldn't put my finger on it.
But whatever "It" was, it wasn't enough.
I missed traveling. Instead of constantly living life on the edge, I was now firmly planted within my comfort zone.
One day, I happened to be running past a CrossFit box one day (Commonwealth CrossFit) and said...now's the time. So I bolted into the middle of a busy class. Being sweaty, the coach (who was running a WOD) at the time came running over and said, 'Are you ok?' and I was like uhh yeah, 'How do I join?' A few weeks later, I was coming back into the box for my first few classes and the rest is sort of history.
Again, I'm not an elite level athlete, intermediate I would say, but what I am is addicted to fitness. I love collapsing on the floor to catch my breath after a workout. I love staring at the ceiling, pondering life, seeing spots. I love knowing I reached my limits, again. And doing it on and on again. Because when I reach my limits, I get a glimpse of what's beyond them, I can see it. I know where they are. I know how hard to push myself next time - and even if it's an inch - or a few few seconds faster, I know I'm improving. And improvement is the best measure of anything in today's world.
It's not about being the best, it's about being able to see an improvement in yourself.
And for me, that's what CrossFit allows me to do. That's what travel allows me to do. Reach the edges of my comfort zone and get a glimpse beyond. And obviously here at VoyEdge RX - that's 100% what we're all about. Expanding the vision beyond your comfort zone. Yes, fitness is part of it (staying healthy should be a priority for each and every one of us) but also traveling to new places that challenge our way of thinking, break down boundaries of racism, stereotypes and other preconceived notions...
Our mantra is that everyone has a story. Everyone has limits, but each of us can push past them with the help of others.
CrossFitters aren't cults and travelers aren't all hippy millenials who said 'No' to the corporate world. Fitness and travel should both be mediums to expanding a life better lived and we seriously hope to achieve that on our trips and through the community we're beginning to forge.
It doesn't matter where you've been, what you've done or even what you're afraid of. It matters where you're going. And even with something so incremental as a little bit of progress each day, you'll be amazed at the places you'll go and people you'll meet.
I hope to meet you one day.
All the best for now....
- Cam King
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